5 Tips to Optimize Job Postings for Your Startup

by April Maguire

4 min read

It’s no secret that the average startup is operating on a limited budget. As a result, most startup founders have to wear various hats. Along with handling the company’s accounting and marketing needs, the average startup owner must also act as an HR manager, taking the lead on employee hiring.

While dealing with staffing may seem like a burden, employee recruitment is one of the most important jobs a startup founder undertakes. After all, your workers are likely the ones interacting with your clients and customers, and a bad apple could seriously bruise your reputation.

Unfortunately, many business owners rush the recruitment process, ultimately selecting workers who aren’t really up to the task. In fact, a recent report reveals that 46% of new small business hires fail within the first 18 months.

If you want to avoid hiring snafus, optimizing your job postings is essential. Follow the tips below to find top talent and avoid hiring another statistic. 

1. Incorporate Keywords

Even the best-written job description won’t help you very much if no one sees it. If you hope to attract top candidates to your business, you need to ensure that your job post is searchable online.

For the best results, take the time to research those keywords searched most often by prospective employees in your industry. This isn’t a license to stuff your listing with keywords, as this can make your ad unreadable, but it’s a good idea to pepper the text with a few top terms. You may also want to modify your keywords with geographic terms, such as your business’ city and state, in order to weed out people who are unwilling to relocate.

The good news is that 30% of Google searches are employment-based, so make sure your job listing is searchable in order to capture the attention of the best candidates.

2. Create an Enticing Title

You’ve probably heard the expression that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. However, with respect to job postings, the fact is that people very often evaluate job postings based on what they see first, and that’s the title.

To maximize interest in your listing, create a title that’s both appealing and accurate. While a job title like “Social Media Marketer No. 3″ is unlikely to draw leads, a designation such as “Marvelous Marketing Maven” may be too eccentric for candidates to take seriously. Instead, strive to create a title that reveals the job function clearly while showing that the employee won’t be just another cog in the wheel.

3. Avoid Overly Rigid Requirements

In their eagerness to find the very best candidates, startup founders often make the mistake of listing too many rules and requirements in their job posts. However, the truth is that few candidates are going to demonstrate expertise in each and every business and technological area you desire.

Instead of providing a laundry list of skills, hiring managers should focus on locating candidates with the basic talent and experience needed to do the job well, along with a demonstrated ability to learn. After all, you can always teach someone who’s intelligent and eager to succeed. For the best results, provide several must-have job requirements and a few others that are desired but not obligatory.

4. Ask for Extra Info

Are you tired of auditioning job candidates who aren’t quite up to the task? Instead of just asking for a resume and cover letter like most ads do, consider requesting that applicants submit additional materials, such as a sample blog or design assignment.

Not only does asking for extras help you make more informed choices about hiring, but it also weeds out those candidates who aren’t willing to go above and beyond in the line of duty.

If you don’t have a particular task in mind, consider posing a question to potential workers. For example, you could ask how a candidate would go about launching an email marketing campaign for your company, or inquire about a time he or she had to deal with a difficult supervisor. Just remember to keep it relevant. If you’re hiring for a programming position, having lots of Twitter followers isn’t something to ask for.

5. Sell, Sell, Sell

Most startup owners are passionate about their companies. As a result, they have a tendency to assume that anyone would be lucky to join their teams. But as great as your business may be, you won’t find the best workers unless you learn to sell yourself the same way you do your products and services.

In order to attract the highest quality candidates, take the time to describe your business in your job ad. Along with your overall company goals and mission, strive to highlight your offerings that make your workplace superior to competitors, such as higher salaries, enhanced benefits or opportunities for growth. It’s also a good idea to describe the work environment. The last thing you need is a candidate who doesn’t mesh well with your culture and the rest of the team.

As a startup owner, you may be more focused on launching your business than recruiting. However, the people you hire can have a significant effect on your company’s long-term success. Take the time to create a detailed and enticing job description, and rest assured knowing your next hire will stand the test of time.

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